MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…

West Chop lighthouse …


  There are five lighthouses on Martha’s Vineyard and I chose to talk about West Chop first because I have a personal interest in it.   My dear friend Seamond grew up here in the 1950’s.  She was the daughter of the last lighthouse keeper of West Chop lighthouse.   Imagine living next to this beautiful lighthouse on the harbor in Vineyard Haven… the ocean and stunning views right outside the door and the busy harbor only a few feet away.  A few years ago I was lucky enough to go inside the lighthouse and the view was breath taking.  I’m looking forward to reading her comments…   if anyone should be writing a book about MV it should be Seamond… she’s rich with interesting and informative tales.

The lighhouse itself was built in 1817 of wood.  It was replaced in 1838 with the current brick one.   As far as I know it’s been moved back from the edge of the cliff twice, once in 1848 and then in 1891.  If you can add to this information Seamond please do 🙂


Author: mvobsession

I'm married, I have two daughters and two grandchildren and they all love MV. Enjoy my MV blog and contact me if I can answer any questions. This blog started out as strictly about Martha's Vineyard but over the years I've branched out to include other obsessions and interests. I enjoy photography and like sharing my photos here as well. Hope you enjoy :)

4 thoughts on “West Chop lighthouse …

  1. Now, Joanie, you KNOW I’ll have to write about West Chop Light. It’s so dear to me always. Yes, I lived there (in the house away from the tower, as Sam Fuller, our assistant keeper and his wife, Mattie, lived in the tower house). We lived there from 1946-1957. Dad and Sam, as well as keeping West Chop up and neat and shipshape and government working approved, also had the responsibility of caring for East Chop, Edgartown and Cape Pogue, as well as the two harbor jetties at Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs. I tell you this to assure you that your tax dollars back then spent on lighthouse keepers paid for a whole lot of work and if a lighthouse keeper was found by the government inspection team to have been “lazy,” well, he was fired. Dad and Sam mowed the lawns at West Chop and East Chop with a push mower and a sickle bar for the sides of the property. They whitewashed the West Chop tower yearly and when we went over to the other lighthouses, our visits entailed a complete inside cleaning job. For East Chop and Cape Pogue, we also brought the mower and sickle bar for the outside work. Being a kid at West Chop was extra neat. I had my very own tower for my lighthouse interpretation of Rapunzel and imaginary dragons, too. When I got older and Elvis Presley was THE rage, well, I took my portable record player over to the tower and turned it up top volume. What a great echo chamber! Sam Fuller, however, living in proximity of the tower somehow (?)just didn’t appreciate Elvis, so my best echo chamber ever stuff didn’t hold out too long. In the summer, we were surrounded by the wealthy and famous and other than visits to see the lighthouse, they left us alone and vice versa. We were miles apart in economic strata. In the winter, we virtually owned the whole “chop,” like it was our own island. I went to school by bus and quite often the town would not plow as far as us, so we frequently got stranded and I got a few extra days of playing in the snow and out of school that way. We had many pets and that kept us occupied. I had a little flock of chickens and they were also my pets. One of them, Henny Penny was a big black hen weighing ove 10 pounds, and she was my special friend. I would take her for bike rides in the basket and take her to the “rich peoples” houses to go dig in their verdant lawns. Mom and Dad read all the time and so did I. I played piano and the record player. Dad played the harmonica and one of our fun things was to go sit on the back porch and sing along with Dad’s harmonica. And, so, as above, along with many other things passed my life at West Chop Lighthouse. I go back as often as I can and always feel a special ownership to that dear place. If you’d like to read some of my stories on the internet, go to Google and type in my name as Seamond Ponsart Roberts. I hope you enjoy reading of times long ago when I was a little lighthouse kid. Now that I’m an old lighthouse lady, I’m lucky enough to have had Joanie found me through the internet. If anyone wants to write me, Joanie has my e-mail! Seamond

  2. What a great story Seamond!! I will go to your site. Thank You

  3. Pingback: Vineyard Trivia Game … « MV Obsession

  4. I was born on the island and lived at West Chop for the first few years of my life (thus my memories of it are quite faint). After leaving the island (I was a Coast Guard brat), my family and I would return about once or twice a year to visit relatives. When I was about 20, the residents allowed me to visit them and check out the lighthouse which brought back some of those faint memories. Although it has some potential to be quite creepy, it was undoubtedly a neat place to live.

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